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Former Olympic weightlifter from Ukraine killed in war with Russia

Oleksandr Pielieshenko, 30, is believed to be the first Olympian killed in the war.
Oleksandr Pielieshenko
Posted at 1:46 PM, May 07, 2024

A weightlifting champion and former Olympian from Ukraine has died in his country's ongoing war with Russia.

The Ukrainian Olympic Committee confirmed Monday that Oleksandr Pielieshenko died while serving on the front lines of the Ukrainian armed forces. He was 30 years old and is believed to be the first Olympian killed in the war.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that today the heart of the honored master of sports of Ukraine, two-time European weightlifting champion Oleksandr Pielieshenko, stopped beating," the Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation said in a social media post translated by The Associated Press.

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Pielieshenko represented Ukraine at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and placed fourth in the men's 85 kg division. However, he has not competed professionally since 2018 after being busted for doping a second time.

A group of 192 athletes from Ukraine sent a letter to French leaders and the organizers of the 2024 Olympics earlier this year calling for Russian athletes to be barred from participating in this summer's event. Russia has not been formally represented in the Olympics since 2016 due to a state-sponsored doping scandal, but Russians have been allowed to compete as neutral athletes.